Tammy Abraham deserves his great week, says Frank Lampard
Tammy Abraham scored the opener as Chelsea beat Southampton
Last Updated: 07/10/19 9:50am
Frank Lampard paid tribute to Tammy Abraham after the striker followed up his England call-up by scoring his eighth Premier League goal of the season in Chelsea's 4-1 win over Southampton on Super Sunday.
Abraham, who also netted in the Champions League win over Lille on Wednesday, opened the scoring at St Mary's Stadium when he latched onto Callum Hudson-Odoi's pass and poked a looping finish over Angus Gunn which dropped over the line before Maya Yoshida could make a clearance.
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The goal helped Chelsea on their way to a comfortable victory which moved them up to fifth in the Premier League table. It was also a sign of Abraham's growing confidence, which Lampard puts down to his hard work and determination behind the scenes.
"You talk about when people are in good form, things happen for them or they generally have moments," said Lampard in his post-match press conference.
"For me, that comes from how Tammy has handled himself all season from the early moments of pre-season and the start of the season when people were questioning him in different ways.
"It's the work ethic behind the scenes that gets him in such good nick. He's not just an incredible handful for defenders - he's running them, he's holding the ball up, he's controlling it, he's got good feet - he's also getting his goals, which is brilliant for him.
"I trusted in Tammy at the start of the season. I felt it was his time to come back to Chelsea. I know people will talk about the circumstances [of the transfer ban], but he also has Olivier Giroud, who's a World Cup winner, and also [Michy] Batshuayi who's a top-class Premier League striker in my opinion as well.
"He's made the position his own in the short-term now. He has to keep that going because competition is key and over the course of the season we'll need everybody.
"But he has deserved the great week he has had. He has deserved the great start to the season he has had and I will keep on him, because I want more."
Abraham was substituted for Batshuayi having taken a knock in the closing stages, but Lampard allayed any injury fears ahead of England's upcoming European Qualifiers against Czech Republic and Bulgaria, instead joking that the academy graduate was merely seeking recognition from the travelling fans.
"He's fine," said Lampard. "He took a bang on the back of the knee, but I think he wanted a round of applause."
Lampard's praise for Willian
It was another fine day for Chelsea's young players, with Mason Mount and Hudson-Odoi also involved in the goals, but Lampard's most effusive praise was reserved for the more experienced Willian, who led by example with and without the ball.
"He was a standout for me," Lampard told Sky Sports. "His work ethic off the ball. If we talk to the wingers about what we want from them, we'll show them that video of what Willian did today. His quality and burst of pace on the ball. The last four or five games he's been our best player."
'We're in a nice position'
The result moves Chelsea level on points with fourth-placed Leicester heading into the international break and Lampard believes his side can be "challenging right up there."
"The expectations were hard to say, because we knew there were challenges and you can't always assess where everyone else is going to be," he said.
"I feel we're a few points short of where we should have been on our performances. I'm not saying that as bad luck, just being self-critical: there are games we should've won more points in, and that's on us.
"But I'm pretty happy, happy we;'re in and around that group - obviously Liverpool are out on their own, but at this early stage we're in a nice position. It should give us determination to go away and come back in the same vein because the minute you relax in this league it can all change very quickly.
"The reason we're playing this well is because of how hard we're working and how together we are. If we keep doing that, we'll be challenging right up there, I hope."